When it comes to the Mexican Caribbean, tourist hotspots like Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen have long reigned supreme as the go-to destinations.
Yet, in a surprising twist, none of these renowned destinations could eclipse Akumal, a small but charming Riviera Maya beach town, in terms of hotel occupancy rates this year.
According to the Mexican Secretary of Tourism (Sectur), Akumal had the highest average sustained occupancy rate for the first eight months of the year at 84.9%, surpassing Playacar at 83.8%, Cancún at 76.1%, and Playa del Carmen at 69.5%.
It’s safe to say that when talking about the Mexican Caribbean, destinations such as Cancun, Tulum, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, and even Cozumel often come to the minds of travelers.
So, how is it that Akumal, often considered an underdog in terms of tourism, managed to outperform these well-known destinations in terms of visitor numbers this year?
Let’s find out!
@togethertowhereve Spend the day at a beach club in Akumal the next time you're in the Riviera Maya of Mexico.@togethertowherever #rivieramayamexico #akumalmx #beachclubday #carribeanbeaches #yucatanpeninsula #quintanaroomexico #travelinmexico #familybeachday ♬ OUT NOW Enzo Smooth Operator – Enzo is Burning
A True Mexican Caribbean Paradise
Though many Mexican Caribbean destinations offer breathtaking natural wonders, from pristine beaches to lush jungle areas, none quite compare to Akumal.
Located just under a 3-hour drive from Cancun, this quaint beach town still retains its unspoiled natural beauty, showcasing expansive, white-sand beaches, mesmerizing lagoons, mangrove forests, and even intricate cave formations with awe-inspiring cenotes.
@mexicoakumal The wonders of an underwater world await you. Come dive with us and discover the wonders that Akumal hides under its waters. 🐢 Las maravillas de un mundo subacuático esperan por ti. Ven a bucear con nosotros y descubre las maravillas que akumal esconde bajo sus aguas. 🐢 #akumal #underwaterworld #summertime #diving #divingcenter ♬ Dreaming to Fly – Andrea Vanzo
Moreover, Akumal is known for its impressive coral reef formations, showcasing unusual cave-like structures that have made it a beloved diving spot for decades.
In fact, Akumal’s popularity as a diving haven turned it into the very first Mexican Caribbean tourist destination, even predating Cancun by more than a few years.
Today, the town is still a massively popular diving hotspot, mainly due to the aforementioned coral reef formations that foster hundreds of marine life species, including tropical fish, rays, lobsters, octopus, and many more.
The Place Of Turtles
Beyond being a coveted diving spot, Akumal’s tranquil waters and its huge biodiversity also make it a fantastic location for swimming and snorkeling.
@mexicoakumal Akumal is waiting for you 🌴🌊 #akumal #turtles #diving ♬ Golden Hour: Piano Version – Andy Morris
However, what truly sets Akumal apart is its famed sea turtles. In fact, the very name “Akumal” is derived from the Mayan language, meaning the “Place of the Turtles.”
If you’re curious about the possibility of encountering these gentle creatures, the answer is a resounding yes.
Yet, it’s essential to note that you can’t embark on a sea turtle-watching adventure by yourself. Strict regulations are in place to ensure the well-being and safety of the turtles.
So, your best bet is to join a sea turtle-watching tour accompanied by a certified guide. The good news is that numerous tour operators offer these experiences, allowing you to have a memorable encounter with these majestic sea creatures while adhering to responsible and eco-friendly practices.
In addition to the famous sea turtle tours, some of the most popular experiences that captivate travelers include the Aktun Chen eco-park, known for its impressive caves with rock formations, the Mayamar and Santa Cruz cenotes, and the stunning Yal-ku lagoon.
Where Luxury And Ecotourism Intertwine
As you can see, ecotourism takes center stage in the Akumal experience. However, this is never at the expense of luxury, as the town is renowned for its unique blend of upscale accommodations and eco-friendly practices.
On the more ecotourism side of the spectrum, Akumal offers fantastic options like Akumal Natura Glamping, featuring its very own cenotes, privileged jungle settings, and comfortable facilities.
And if you’re seeking a romantic escapade complemented with top-notch amenities, Maya Eco Village is the place to go. Spacious rooms with private balconies offer breathtaking sea views, promising an unforgettable stay in Akumal.
Plus, its proximity to iconic Akumal restaurants like La Lunita and Lol-Ha provides the chance to savor local delicacies and exceptional seafood.
And for a full-fledged luxury resort experience, Akumal has you covered with upscale options like Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal or the top-rated Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya.
Both resorts offer elegant suites, world-class amenities, and some of the most stunning ocean views in the Mexican Caribbean.
These are only a few examples of the wide selection of excellent resorts and boutique hotels you’ll find at Akumal. And, added to the town’s numerous natural attractions and breathtaking locations, it’s no wonder why this hidden Mexican Caribbean gem’s popularity among travelers is skyrocketing.
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